New Delhi, Feb 03: Higher education is no more a distant dream for tribal students. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has decided to award fellowship to the scholars from tribal community pursuing M.Phil and Ph.D at different universities in the country.
"The ministry is starting Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme from the current session. The scheme has already got the approval of the Cabinet," Ministry Secretary Meena Gupta said.
The scheme, to be implemented through University Grants Commission (UGC), aims at providing fellowship to 667 students per year. The selection criteria is yet to be finalised.
"Quiet possible, the students will be selected on the basis of marks," she said.
The selected students will get stipend of Rs 8,000 per month during M.Phil, while at Ph.D level, the grant would be increased to monthly Rs 9000. The eligible students will get some other grants for books etc.
States having highest scheduled tribe population will have a major stake in this scheme, as it earmarks fellowships for each state on the basis of the percentage of country’s tribal population residing there.
"This will ensure each tribal populated state of getting due share in the scheme," she said.
The government would grant Rs 8.8 crore this year, while it will be increased to Rs 17 crore next year, she said.
"The intention is to ensure that the erudite tribal students do not discontinue study halfway owing to financial problems. This will encourage tribal students to concentrate on their studies," she added.